Che Yeh 

A mobile phone is radically politicalized from the moment it was manufactured. First, it was assembled by underpaid and non-insured workers in a company that is involved in tax evasion. And then after it was sold, it continue its political function in various ways. It is a tool of connection, it breaks the border and connects people. Its camera democratizes the gesture of picture making and changes the way we perceive photo-representation. It can also be used to trigger improvised explosive devices and creates chaos and in a way starts revolutions in some people’s minds. To narrate its story, I use images found on photograph sharing websites, inter-winded with screenshots of a hollywood action film, news photos and advertising images. Images on each page respond to the content on the manual accordingly. Pictures are sequenced in a non-linear way, similar to the user’s manual- full of montages and repetitions.

These pictures of rainbows, fireworks, blurry human faces and the crowd after bombing taken by ordinary people on their phone in the early 2000 are all attempts to grasp fleeting moments. Even though they are hazy, pixelated and nearly unrecognizable(at the bottom of the visual hierarchy.) But for me, they are much more powerful and progressive than those crispy sharp and well-made pictures.

There is this neutral tone in every user’s manuals, they present a beautiful vision to people, a vision of connectivity and community in a seemingly reliable way. By juxtaposing these visions with awkward and silly everyday pictures. I try to explore the conversation between them, the idea of past optimism and how ordinary people deal with the altering political landscape.

144 pages
Soft cover
Perfect Bound
4.5 x 7 in

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